The Church of Scientology treats its famous and non-famous parishioners differently, according to Leah Remini, who left the controversial religion in 2013. Using pal Jennifer Lopez as an example, Remini insists the singer would not be permitted to see her Scientologist father if she weren’t a celebrity.
“The [practice] of Scientology says her father should be disconnecting from her because she’s connected to me. And that hasn’t happened,” she told PEOPLE. “Although I don’t want that to happen to Jennifer or her family, it is the [practice] of Scientology. They do it to everybody else who is not a big name.”
According to the actress, many people who leave Scientology have had family members forced to “disconnect” from them. The church, however, has refuted that claim, saying they don’t force anyone to cut ties with ex-members because disconnection is a choice.
“It is Remini who is the attacker,” a spokesperson for the church told the outlet in a statement. “Her whole anti-Scientology shtick was scripted and choreographed by her, casting herself in her drama as the ‘victim’ so she could cash in on her false narrative while savaging her friends and those who helped her most of her life.”
Remini launched her A&E docu-series last year, titled “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” on which she shares the stories of fellow ex-Scientologists. Now in its second season, the show will continue to dig into allegations of abuse and manipulation within the church.